Live updates: Day 27 of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh

23 October 2020

Fighting is continuing for the 27th day over Nagorno-Karabakh, despite a ceasefire being agreed in Moscow.

[The news as it happened: 27 September, 28 September, 29 September, 30 September, 1 October, 2 October, 3 October, 4 October, 5 October, 6 October, 7 October, 8 October, 9 October, 10 October, 11 October, 12 October, 13 October, 14 October, 15 October, 16 October, 17 October, 18 October, 19 October, 20 October, 21 October, 22 October]

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 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

23 Oct 2020, 19:19

Frontline moves within range of Lachin

The Nagorno-Karabakh State Service of Emergency Situations has reported that this afternoon Azerbaijani forces fired upon a village and road near the city of Lachin (Berdzor) with grad rockets. They have also reported the bombardment of the town of Martakert (Aghdara).

Lachin is located on the main arterial road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. 

23 Oct 2020, 19:02

Aliyev: Azerbaijani Army has taken control of nine new villages

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has announced that the Azerbaijani military has taken control of two villages near Martuni (Khojavend), five villages near Jabrayil (Jrakan), and two villages near Zangilan (Kovsakan). 

23 Oct 2020, 15:44

Defence Ministry of Nagorno-Karabakh: Military fatalities rise to 926

Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh have confirmed that the number of fatalities among Armenian military personnel have risen to at least 926. Azerbaijan does not release the number of military fatalities. 

23 Oct 2020, 13:17

Pompeo to meet Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers today

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan today in Washington DC. 

Pompeo will meet with the foreign ministers separately to discuss the ongoing fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh. At present, it is unknown if the two foreign ministers will meet with each other. 

23 Oct 2020, 12:17

Human Rights Watch: Azerbaijan used cluster munitions in Nagorno-Karabakh

Human Rights Watch has documented four incidents in which Azerbaijan used cluster munitions in residential areas during the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the report, Human Rights Watch examined ‘remnants of the rockets, impacts, and remnants of submunitions that exploded, as well as dud submunitions that failed to function at several locations’ in Stepanakert (Khankandi), as well as photographs taken in the city of Hadrut of the aftermath of impact locations and a variety of exploded and unexploded munitions. They also spoke to six people who were witnesses to the attacks. 

‘Azerbaijani officials have accused the Armenian side of using cluster munitions in this conflict, but Human Rights Watch has not independently verified those claims’, they stated, adding that in spite of multiple requests, the Azerbaijani government has not granted them access to conduct on-site investigations.

‘The continued use of cluster munitions – particularly in populated areas – shows flagrant disregard for the safety of civilians’ said Stephen Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. ‘Cluster munitions should never be used by anyone under any circumstances, much less in cities, due to the foreseeable and unacceptable harm to civilians’. 

Human Rights Watch is investigating whether both Armenia and Azerbaijan follow humanitarian law during the conflict, which ‘requires armed forces to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objects and civilian objects, at all times’.

23 Oct 2020, 11:29

Fighting reported overnight, Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of shelling populated settlements

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has reported that during the night, fighting continued with ‘various intensity’ in the north of Nagorno-Karabakh near Martakert (Aghdara) and near Fuzuli (Varanda), Hadrut, Jabrayil (Jrakan), and Gubadli (Kashunik) in the south — they have reported taking ‘important territories’ and ‘strategic heights’. 

Shushan Stepanyan, the spokesperson for the Armenian Ministry of Defence, has stated that the ‘relatively stable and tense situation’ has not changed during the night. 

Armenian officials have stated that overnight Azerbaijani forces fired upon the towns Askeran and Martuni (Khojavand), and Martakert (Aghdara) and upon the villages of Karmir Shuka and Taghavard. As of this morning, Armenian authorities report that Karmir Shuka and other villages have continued to be targetted with artillery.  No injuries or deaths have been reported. 

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has denied firing upon civilian targets.